Cologne vs Bayer Leverkusen: Probable Teams, Match Stats & LIVE Blog!
Xabi Alonso gets his first grip of a Rhine derby when Bayer Leverkusen travel to Cologne, who are sweating over Jonas Hector’s fitness on Wednesday (kick-off: 6.30pm CET).
Cologne captain Hector missed the last three games with a deep gash around his ankle, but the 32-year-old returned to training ahead of what would be his 13th derby. Coach Steffen Baumgart said after sunday 2-0 defeat in Freiburg that he hopes his leader on the pitch will be back in time for the last two games of the year. The Billy Goats’ defeat at the weekend was their third straight on the road in the Bundesliga and saw them fall to 12th, but they are unbeaten in three at the RheinEnergieStadion, including thrilling 3-2 wins over Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg. Timo Hubers is set to return to central defense after missing the Freiburg game, while Steffen Tigges remains the only complete striker available to a manager who has declared his preference to play with two up front.
Leverkusen start it English Woche five points behind their local rivals, but a Union Berlin crushed 5-0 at least lifted Die Werkself out of three down – although by a single point. Sunday’s win was fair Alonsois the second in eight meetings at the helm of the BayArena. Accustomed to some of football’s biggest games as a player, he now has his first taste of the Rivalry in the Rhine as a coach. The Spaniard has confirmed that the defender Jonathan Tah will play these last two matches of 2022, but the striker Patrick Schick is struggling with an adductor problem and could miss again. There is also hope in Leverkusen that Florian Wirtz could return to action before the winter break after missing most of the year with a cruciate ligament injury sustained in the last derby in March.
Look: Cologne claimed the derby spoils in the last encounter
- Benno Schmitz (two) has scored the most own goals in the German top flight this season, while Cologne’s combined three-goal return is also the highest in the league.
- No team has scored more crosses than Cologne (183) after 13 matchdays.
- Cologne have collected 11 of their 17 points at the RheinEnergieStadion so far this season and their home record of three wins, two draws and just one loss is seventh best in the division.
- Leverkusen, meanwhile, have won just one away win this season and their four-point comeback (W1, D1, L4) is the fourth-worst in the league.
- Moussa Diaby (35 km/h) is currently the fastest player in the Bundesliga in 2022/23.
- Die Werkself have lost just one of their last five meetings with the Billy Goats (W3, D1, L1), although Cologne were 1-0 winners when the sides last met in March.
Cologne: Schwäbe – Schmitz, Kilian, Soldo, Pedersen – Skhiri, Martel – Maina, Duda, Kainz (c) – Tigges
Out: Andersson (knee), Dietz (knee), Hübers (dead leg), Lemperle (ankle), Limnios (knee), Ljubicic (knee), Uth (fitness)
Doubtful: Hector (foot)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) – Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie – Frimpong, Andrich, Palacios, Bakker – Diaby, Hlozek, Amiri
Out: Azmoun (muscular), Wirtz (fitness)
Doubtful: Aranguiz (calf), Paulinho (flu), Schick (adductor)
Coach: Xabi Alonso